Tammi Borja, 35, said she looks forward to a part-time job for now as she juggles her time between taking care of her children and helping to pay the household bills.

So when she learned that California Pizza Kitchen Hagåtña and Ban Thai Restaurant & Lounge are holding a job fair on Wednesday in Hagåtña, she made plans to go.

"I want to apply at all of them and see what each place has to offer. Or maybe just CPK. I've always wanted to try a pizza place," said the former Wendy's and Taco Bell employee.

Borja said she's fully vaccinated, so she hopes it won't be much of an issue finding a job in the restaurant industry, especially with her prior restaurant experience.

The governor has mandated vaccination for employees of restaurants, bars, and certain other types of businesses by Sept. 27.

The new CPK Hagåtña opened in May but only for takeout and delivery. With diners now coming back, CPK is opening its doors to dine-in customers, thus the need to recruit more employees.

And with a tight labor market, restaurants such as CPK Hagåtña have been trying creative ways to get the word out that they're in need of employees, such as hosting job fairs and multiple postings on social media.

"The advantage of a job fair is a quicker hiring process and a more personable approach. We can interview and hire on the spot and we intend to do that. We need about 20 people for CPK Hagåtña for an anticipated October opening date," said Jude Diaz, human resource manager for International Dining Concepts, which owns and operates the restaurant franchise on Guam.

The job fair will be held at CPK Hagåtña, across from Skinner Plaza. It will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

CPK Hagåtña is looking for part-time and full-time servers, bartenders, cooks, prep cooks, bussers, host/takeout cashiers, restaurant supervisors and managers.

Ban Thai Restaurant & Lounge, which operates in Tumon, also will be at the CPK Hagåtña job fair to try to recruit cooks, bartenders and servers.

Diaz echoed other employers' sentiments that there has been a shortage of restaurant employees, despite thousands of workers out of jobs as a direct result of the pandemic.

Keeping pay competitive

But Diaz said the International Dining Concepts restaurants have maintained their competitive salaries and benefits packages to keep their employees and to hire new ones.

"We didn't take away employee benefits to be competitive," Diaz told The Guam Daily Post. "We're probably the first restaurant to increase kitchen staff and cooks' pay before the $9.25 an hour minimum wage increased."

A prior job fair for other restaurants didn't yield the results the company expected because only 16 job seekers showed up. Diaz said the heavy rain that day might have been a big factor, too. However, about half of those who showed up were hired, he said.

Diaz said that at Wednesday's job fair, those who meet the eligibility requirements, if hired for the position, can expect the following benefit opportunities: service charge earnings in addition to the hourly wage; employee discount; employee meals; medical, vision and dental insurance; holiday pay; paid vacation leave; 401K; and training and advancement opportunities.

Besides CPK and Ban Thai Restaurant & Lounge, the other restaurants in the International Dining Concepts family are Beachin' Shrimp, Pika's Cafe Guam, Little Pika's Tumon Bay Guam, Eat Street Grill, and Hot Diggety Dog.

"We never turn away applicants for any of these restaurants," he said. "I think one other important matter is for employers to also follow up with their employees, check on them after they're hired."

For the Wednesday job fair, each applicant is asked to wear a mask and to bring a pen and a resume. On-site interviews may take place.

Attendees will be asked to complete an application form on arrival, or the form can be completed and brought to the job fair by downloading the fillable PDF at https://bit.ly/3hxRKpD.

"If you're looking for a job, please come on out and check us out at the job fair," Diaz said. "Let's get to know each other."

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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